iPad: My Very Early Impressions + Your Questions

So I was going to go to the Apple Store and stand in line to buy an iPad — if I could. Instead, I ended up staying up really late, playing around with the review unit I received from Apple and as a result, didn’t get to sleep till 3:30 a.m. And now I’m extremely tired. So I will get to the Apple store a little late, check out the retail display and if I can, will buy an iPad.

So much has already been written about the iPad that I wonder if my review will really say anything new. I mean, what’s the point of repeating the feature-oriented stuff that’s already been written? Most of it is banal and predictable. Instead, I wonder if you have any questions I can answer. If you do, please leave them in the comments and I will try to respond as quickly as possible. Now remember, this is based on less than a day’s use of the iPad.

Now let me give you some of my impressions of the device. They may seem a little disjointed but bear with me, for it will be a while before I can make up my mind. One of the hardest things about the iPad has nothing to do with the device itself — but rather is about the legacy of computing we have in our head. (Related: Why I Am Excited About the iPad.)

Almost inadvertently, you will start out looking for the keyboard, the mouse and essentially a less interactive experience with this device. This isn’t going to change anytime soon — don’t let anyone tell you it will — because our brains have been programmed to type on a keyboard and use a mouse/trackpad to navigate through the computer. It will take a long time before we are completely de-programmed. Perhaps that’s why it will feel absolutely normal to kids and others who don’t typically use computers all day.

Since I like to store bookmarks, PDFs, photos and videos — everything, really — in Evernote, it was the first app that I downloaded. I started writing my blog post in Evernote — a very typical thing for me to do. I wasn’t sure how I would take to the virtual keyboard on the iPad.

[related-posts align=”right” tag=”iPad”]Sure, I can type really really fast on the iPhone keyboard, but the iPad keyboard was an unknown. In the past, when using virtual keyboards on tablet-sized computers, I’ve been disappointed. So with some trepidation, I tried typing on the iPad. So far, what was virtually impossible for me to do on other devices feels almost natural on this one.

To be honest, I haven’t spent much time creating content — instead I have been consuming content voraciously. I have downloaded about 25 apps so far and most of them are oriented around reading, watching and entertainment. The vivid colors of the gorgeous 9.7-inch screen do actually make a lot of difference and make consuming content more enjoyable. Among the apps I’ve downloaded:

* Kindle for iPad: I think it’s a great substitute for those of us who have invested heavily in the Kindle ecosystem. I have been buying fewer and fewer books on Kindle lately, mostly because I prefer the old-fashioned book format. But I see the iPad as a perfect way to carry my Kindle books when traveling.

* Netflix for iPad: Even though it has some rough edges, Netflix for iPad is a perfect app for this platform. I normally stream a movie or television show to my laptop before falling asleep and I can easily see iPad becoming an even easier way of watching movies. Last night (or was it this morning?), I watched the BBC show “Wire in the Blood” (season 5) before I got some shut-eye. I felt more immersed in the show compared to watching it on my laptop.

* This morning, I read all the papers I normally read on my laptop on the iPad: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Guardian. Now this is where things get exciting. With a few taps and a little touch, I am interacting just with the story on a one-on-one basis. It does feel more personal. I am not yet convinced why I should really pay for the apps for these outlets, though.

That’s it for now. I will be back soon with further impressions.

Related iPad content from GigaOM Pro, including our exclusive forecast of iPad sales and sales of iPad-related applications